Posted on: 5 January 2015
Large family reunions that bring in far-flung relatives from across the country, or even the globe, usually span several days. It's a time to reconnect and catch up on family events, so you want to make the days of the reunion as low-stress a possible. Get started on the right foot and don't overlook the small details that can make your reunion better.
#1: Ease the Drive
Even with the wonders of modern GPS, you want to take every step possible to make the reunion location easy to find for out-of-town family. Make sure the invitation contains the full printed address for inputting into a GPS system, along with a simple map for those that don't use GPS.
Small printed signs can also help point the way, especially if the reunion location is off the beaten path or at a location with multiple entrances and parking areas, such as a large park or outdoor recreational area. You can make your own signs or have them professionally printed. Professionally printed signs are usually more durable and easier to read.
#2: Say It With a Banner
Hanging a large banner with your family name will make your group easier to find, especially in a large park where multiple events could be happening. A banner also lets others know you are hosting a private event, so no one accidentally crashes your party. You can keep it simple by just printing "Surname Family Reunion" on the banner, or you can get creative and add a graphic depicting a family crest or other design that is important to your family. Speak with specialists like Signarama for help here.
After the event, have everyone autograph the banner with permanent markers. This turns it into a keepsake you can display at future reunions.
#3: Provide Name tags
When it comes to large families, not everyone knows everyone else. Spouses, children and rarely-seen relatives may not be familiar to everyone present. Set up a name tag table right near the entrance and encourage everyone to fill one out. Alternatively, pre-print the name tags so they are easy to read at a distance. You can use stick-on tags or tags in reusable plastic sleeves, depending on your preferences.
You can also use name tags like an icebreaker. Include the family line of descent or have each person write an interesting fact about themselves on the tag.
#4: Set Up Stations
Large informal events benefit from a basic organizational framework. Kids (and adults) are going to run around, toss a football, and play, but you don't want them weaving in and out between the food tables when they do so. Separate the outdoor area into sections for play, games, food, and dining to help avoid a mishap. You can use painted lines on the ground or stakes and brightly colored tape to mark off each section. Place a sign or banner, preferably high enough to be seen easily, proclaiming what each area is for. Setting up these areas in advance makes it easy to gently direct a wayward child back to the play area, and older relatives will have a relaxing area to rest and reconnect.
#5: Provide a Guide
If your reunion is held somewhere that few people call home, consider providing everyone with a take-home guide of things to see and do in the area. Include favorite restaurants and night spots of the local relatives, along with any tourist-type sights and activities. This helps your out-of-town guests make the most of the trip, since most people won't spend all their time doing only family activities at a large reunion.
There's no need to try and micromanage every detail when entertaining a large group. By making sure there is an organized framework in place and supplying plenty of food, much of the entertainment and fun will happen on its own.Share